The Repair of the World: The Novels of Marge Piercy

The Repair of the World: The Novels of Marge Piercy

The Repair of the World: The Novels of Marge Piercy

The Repair of the World: The Novels of Marge Piercy


In Marge Piercy's work, the repair of the world involves an affirmation of a healing and nurturing principle, sometimes depicted as matriarchal, but generally not gender-bound. In this book, the first comprehensive, critical survey of all of Piercy's fiction to date (including her newest novel, The Longings of Women), the author places Piercy in American literary history and in American neofeminist thought. She also highlights Piercy's analysis of power patterns in intimate relationships and in society, and constructions of sexuality and gender as they relate to issues of class and ethnicity. Situated within a feminist discursive space, The Repair of the World both builds on and challenges earlier Piercy criticism.


Send me your worn hacks of tired themes, your dying horses of liberation, your poor bony mules of freedom now. I am the woman sitting by the river. I mend old rebellions and patch them new.

Marge Piercy, "Let Us Gather at the River," Stone, Paper, Knife

Remarkably prolific, Marge Piercy is becoming an increasingly distinguished writer in the United States, even though her name may still not be "a household word like Drano or Kleenex," as she once put it with her wonted pragmatic bluntness (PCBQ 219). Among those who have read her work, opinions of it have been divided. Her detractors have scorned her aims to reach out to a wide group of women readers and her explicit political stance. But for countless readers, her novels have been part of a rite de passage toward increased awareness of the asymmetric encoding of power in both private relations and in a largely male-defined societal and cultural context. Piercy's aim is succinctly summed up in her epigraph to one of her collections of poetry, To Be of Use:

For the give and take
for the feedback between us
for all the times I have tried in saying these poems
to give back some of the energy we create together
from all the women who could never make themselves heard
the women no one would listen to
to all the women who are unlearning to not speak
and growing through listening to each other.

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